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Repair work to close lanes on northbound I-5 near downtown Seattle

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Date:  Monday, March 25, 2013

Contact: Travis Phelps, WSDOT communications, 206-715-9887 (Shoreline)

Drivers should plan for major delays during expansion-joint replacement


SEATTLE – A busy section of northbound Interstate 5 near downtown Seattle will be reduced to just two lanes over the next two weekends as contractor crews replace four 50-year-old expansion joints that span the width of the highway. Work starts Friday, March 29.

The Washington State Department of Transportation urges drivers to plan ahead when considering weekend travel. The heaviest traffic is expected midday Saturday and Sunday on northbound Interstates 5 and I-90 heading into Seattle, and on I-405 approaching I-90. WSDOT will keep the I-90 express lanes in the westbound direction all weekend to help improve traffic flow.

Crews plan to begin closing lanes on I-5 between South Albro Place and South Spokane Street at 8 p.m. each Friday and reopen all lanes by 5 a.m. each Monday.

This stretch of I-5 was constructed in 1965. Nearly 50 years of constant traffic has weakened the steel expansion joints connecting the concrete spans that make up the interstate as it curves through Seattle’s industrial area. The original joints are coming apart and pose a safety risk to drivers if they’re not replaced.

“These closures will cause significant backups on northbound I-5 south of downtown Seattle,” said project engineer Aleta Borschowa. “We need 60 percent of northbound I-5 drivers to take alternate routes over the weekend.”

Weekend lane closure details

Friday, March 29 – Monday, April 1

  • Crews will close up to three of five left lanes on northbound I-5 between South Albro Place and South Spokane Street from 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. 
  • On Saturday and Monday, crews will close up to four lanes between midnight and 4 a.m. to set up and take down concrete barriers.

Friday, April 5 – Monday, April 8

  • Crews will close up to three of five right lanes on northbound I-5 between South Albro Place and South Spokane Street from 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. 
  • The Swift Avenue South on-ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.
  • On Saturday and Monday, crews will close up to four lanes between midnight and 4 a.m. to set up and take down concrete barriers.

Alternate routes for drivers traveling to Seattle via northbound I-5

  • Northbound I-405 to westbound I-90
  • Northbound SR 599 to SR 99

Keeping traffic moving
WSDOT will do everything possible to keep traffic moving during the weekend lane closures:

  • Downtown Seattle will be open for business, with several alternate routes available.
  • The I-90 express lanes will be open in the westbound direction all weekend long.
  • Additional Incident Response Teams will be on duty to clear incidents and stalled vehicles.

Tools for drivers


The expansion joint replacement work is part of the $4.5 million I-5: Spokane Street Special Bridge Repair project.


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